Hot Ashes


Mary and Russ Thompson had been visiting the area for years. They came to spend their summertime fishing for salmon and they always parked their travel trailer in space right behind our home at Camp Marigold.

We came to know them a few years earlier and when they were in town, we often invited them over for dinner. And though they were elderly, they climbed over out backyard fence jus’ like we kids would do.

After dinner one night, we were standing on the front porch chatting, when Mrs. Thompson asked, “Is there supposed to be a fire burning out there?”

She was looking through our rumpus room window and out the back door window. We all looked in the direction she was looking and we could see flames dancing up through the pane of glass.

Mom answered, “No.”

A sudden panic swept through all of us. We scattered, rushing to get to the fire before it caught the side of the house ablaze.

It was a plastic garbage can that Mom had placed a bag of ashes from the fireplace in. The bag of ashes had been setting out on the porch in a metal bucket for the passed two days so she believed them to be safe to throw away.

While Dad grabbed the garden hose, I got the fire extinguisher from the tool bench. He was already spraying the fire down when I aimed the extinguisher at the flame.

The garbage can melted down and some of the paint near the backdoor blistered, but nothing else was damaged. It was our good fortune that the Thompson’s had come over for a visit that evening.

Unfortunately, the fire extinguisher failed to work, when I squeezed the trigger. That’s because years before Adam and I had been playing with it when we should not have been.

Yeah, we got in trouble for it, too.

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